Flummoxed by Simplicity
Although the Golden Rule phrasing is simple, the execution of it has proved to be difficult. Libraries bursting with thousands of books trying to explain how to live a life by simply “loving thy neighbor as thyself.” The phrase’s perfect simplicity flummoxes us.
I realized quickly that the ancients were trying to explain how one could adapt the principle into everyday life, and ancient stories began to describe the special attributes of their great heroes. The stories began to pile up, one after another through time, each identifying great virtues associated with the successes of these great leaders. Looking through history, we see that these enlightened leaders controlled our best societies. That’s what the history books call them: enlightened. What does that mean?
Generally, you’ll find enlightened leaders adhered to a certain set of standards. These standards kept popping up in my reading, and I found them weaving their way through history. I would ask myself, “How do they relate? What ties them together?” I found that there always appeared to be certain sets of virtues related to these high standards of behavior. The simplicity of these sets intrigued me. Virtues such as integrity and honesty were constant in the record. There was the clue, and I ran after it. I began to make a list of the virtues associated with these enlightened eras.